iliary branches ; to have enriched human knowledge by the accumulation of a great mass of useful facts and observations, and to have augmented the power and the comforts of civilized man, by miracles of mechanical invention ?

Is it nothing to have given the world examples of disinterested patriotism, of political wisdom, of public virtue, of learning, eloquence, and valor, never exerted save for some praiseworthy end ? It is sufficient to have briefly suggested these considerations; every mind would anticipate me in filling up the details.

No, — Land of Liberty! thy children have no cause to blush for thee. What though the arts have reared few monuments among us, and scarce a trace of the Muse's footsteps is found in the paths of our forests, or along the banks of our rivers, yet our soil has been consecrated by the blood of heroes, and by the great and holy deeds of peace. Its wide extent has become one vast temple and hallowed asylum, sanctified by the prayers and blessings of the persecuted of

every sect.

Land of Refuge, - Land of Benedictions! Those prayers still arise, and they still are heard : “May peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces !” “May there be no decay, no leading into captivity, and no complaining in thy streets.” “May truth flourish out of the earth, and righteousness look down from heaven!”



ALEXANDER rh was born at Kilmarnock, Scotland, Dec. 31, 1830. He became a pattern-designer in Glasgow, but contributed poems to a newspaper of that city. About the year 1852 his "Life Drama," a dramatic poem, was published. It excited immediate interest in England and in America. Several judicious critics believed that a brilliant light had risen in the heavens of our literature. This author afterwards published “ City Poems,” “Edwin of Deira," " A Summer in Skye," and “Dreamthorpe.” The last two

are prose works. They contain much graceful writing. The present extract is from “Dreamthorpe."

He died at Wardie, near Edinburgh, Jan. 5, 1867.


In summer I spend a good deal of time floating about the lake. The landing place to which my boat is tethered is ruinous, like the chapel and palace, and my embarkation causes quite a stir in the sleepy little village. Small boys leave their games and mud-pies, and gather round in silence; they have seen me get off a hundred times, but their interest in the matter seems always new. Not unfrequently an idle cobbler, in red nightcap and leathern apron, leans on a broken stile, and honors my proceedings with his attention. I shoot off, and the human knot dissolves.

The lake contains three islands, each with a solitary tree, and on these islands the swans breed. I feed the birds daily with bits of bread. See, one comes gliding towards me, with superbly arched neck, to receive its customary alms! How wildly beautiful its motions ! How haughtily it begs !

The green pasture lands run down to the edge of the water, and into it in the afternoons the red kine wade and stand knee-deep in their shadows, surrounded by troops of flies. Patiently the honest creatures abide the attacks of their tormentors. Now

. one swishes itself with its tail, - now its neighbor flaps a huge ear.

I draw my oars alongside, and let my boat float at its own will. The soft blue heavenly abysses, the wandering streams of vapor, the long beaches of rippled cloud, are glassed and repeated in the lake. Dreamthorpe is as silent as a picture, the voices of the children are mute; and the smoke from the houses, the blue pillars all sloping in one angle, float upward as if in sleep.

Grave and stern the old castle rises from its emerald banks, which long ago came down to the lake in terrace on terrace, gay with fruits and flowers, and with stone nymph and satyrs hid in every nook. Silent and empty enough to-day!

A flock of daws suddenly bursts out from a turret, and round and round they wheel, as if in panic. Has some great scandal exploded ? Has a conspiracy been discovered ? Has a revolution broken out? The excitement has subsided, and one of them, perched on the old banner-staff, chatters confidentially to himself as he, sideways, eyes the world beneath him.

Floating about thus, time passes swiftly, for, before I know where I am, the kine have withdrawn from the lake to couch on the herbage, while one on a little height is lowing for the milkmaid and her pails. Along the road I see the laborers coming home for supper, while the sun setting behind me makes the village windows blaze; and so I take my oars, and pull leisurely through waters faintly flushed with evening colors.

An idle life I live in this place, as the world counts it; but then I have the satisfaction of differing from the world as to the meaning of idleness. A windmill twirling its arms all day is admirable only when there is corn to grind. Twirling its arms for the mere barren pleasure of twirling them, or for the sake of looking busy, does not deserve any rapturous pæan of praise. I must be made happy after my own fashion, not after the fashion of other people. Here I can live as I please, here I can throw the reins on the neck of my whim. Here I play with my own thoughts.



BENJAMIN HARRISON was born at North Bend, Ohio, Aug. 20, 1833. He was educated at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, graduating in 1852. In 1854 he began the practice of the law at Indianapolis, Indiana, and became very successful in it. He was an officer in the Federal army of the Civil War, and served with skill and devotion. In 1880 he was chosen a senator in Congress. In 1888 he was elected President of the United States. After the completion of his term of office he was appointed lecturer on International Law at the Leland Stanford University at Palo Alto, California.

He died in Indianapolis, March 13, 1901.

The present selection is taken from “ This Country of Ours," by courtesy of Charles Scribner's Sons.


If we would strengthen our country, we must cultivate a love for it in our own hearts and in the hearts of our children and neighbors; and this love for civil institutions, for a land, for a flag — if they are worthy and great and have a glorious history — is widened and deepened by a fuller knowledge of them.

A certain love of one's native land is instinctive, and the value of this instinct should be allowed ; but it is short of patriotism. When the call is to battle with an invader, this instinct has a high value. It is true that the large majority of those who have died to found and to maintain our civil institutions were not highly instructed in constitutional law; but


« VorigeDoorgaan »